Wonky Corners by Carole Reardon
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12
I learned to sew during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being an Enneagram 1, I needed to be doing something, anything, while hunkered down and waiting for the virus to pass over us.
Two days of diligent hand-sewing, ripping out stitches and re-sewing produced my first facial mask, cut from an old pillowcase adorned with a print of stick-figure dogs. Undeterred, I bought a sewing machine.
At first my machine-made masks weren’t much of an improvement but, as with anything one practices, they got better. As my confidence grew so did my enjoyment of all the fussy-fidgety aspects, the pinning and clipping and nesting of seams, oh my!
With the repetition of cutting and sewing essentially the same mask, my mind could wander or, even better, enter into the meditative quiet where sometimes I think I can hear God. It was not unlike walking the labyrinth, my mind noisy and ticking off lists with my first steps but, if I keep to the path and prayer, it will eventually quiet and I leave refreshed. This is why we practice our faith; repetition hones skill.
Since I had no idea what I was doing when I began making masks, I ended up with a lot of extra fabric so I decided of course to make a quilt, my very own Plague Quilt, never mind I’d never made one before. One can learn anything on YouTube, right?
So begins the Plague Quilt. Measure, cut, feed squares and strips through the sewing machine. My mind busy, less busy, quieter, quiet. Examining a wonky corner of a 9-patch quilt square the thought occurs: this pandemic has revealed all the wonky corners of our world, our country, our lives, and relationships; where are my wonky corners?
One of my favorite Youtube quilters said this of one of her wonky corners, “At this point I have to decide if this flaw offends me so much I want to rip it out and start this square again? And no, this particular one does not offend me all that much.” There was such tranquility about this woman when she said that, the peace that comes with rejecting perfectionism.
There are wonky corners in my life: relationships out of square, family drama, frayed friendships. Not unlike our country, or our world. We are standing on the cusp of a new era and we have an opportunity to do something about our wonky corners. We have choices to make about which bits to rip out, and which imperfections we will accept so long as the whole is sound, warm, and beautiful.
It is my prayer that as the fire passes, we all listen for the gentle whisper.